Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve

Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve is one of ten nature reserves that collectively make up the East London Coast Nature Reserve

Eastern Cape Game and Nature ReservesThe Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve

Kwelera is 160 hectares between the Gonubie and Kwelera rivers, roughly 20 kilometres northeast of East London.

Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve is one of ten nature reserves that collectively make up the East London Coast Nature Reserve – a gorgeous stretch of coast that extends from the Great Kei River in the north east, all the way to the Tylomnqa River in the south east.

Fundamentally coastal dune forest that runs alongside the Indian Ocean, with a series of heavily wooded sand dunes that can rise as high as 250 metres, Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve is home to small buck, monkeys and an incredible bird life.

It spreads over the Kwelera Mouth, on the tidal river of the same name close to the little village of Kwelera, and is popular for launching boats, surfing and snorkeling.

From the slipway for about 300 to 400 metres the water is reasonably shallow and ideal for snorkeling. From there it gets deeper, which is great for diving.

Divers and snorklers speak about the unique west wind that needs only blow for a day, before the water is clean and clear. However, they also speak about a dangerous rip tide at the river mouth during low tide. Expect to spot rays, sandsharks, strepies, blacktail, mullet and blue fish as well as huge schools of fish, whales and dolphins.

At Kwelera point you may also see the remains of the Santa Alberto that was wrecked off the coast in 1593. And the village of Gonubie is a mere 5 kilometre coastal trek, if the mood takes you.

The 10 hectare Kwelera National Botanical Garden will soon exist within the reserve, with a system of boardwalks to connect the two. This is the first botanical garden for the Eastern Cape.

Attractions in Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve

Kwelera Botanical Garden


Kwelera is officially classified as a 'conservation garden' promoting biodiverisity education to locals and attracting tourists to the region. But it is going to be some time before its intention to attract visitors and learners becomes a reality...

More info and photographs: Kwelera National Botanical Garden

Things to Do in or near Kwelera Coastal Nature Reserve

Visit Hood Point Lighthouse


At a height of 19 meters, the Hood Point Lighthouse stands as tall as the pine tress that flank its masonry tower like botanical bodyguards. Smart and proud this maritime hero, decked out in the white of a naval officer's ceremonial uniform, salutes the...

More info and photographs: Visit Hood Point Lighthouse

Strandloper Hiking Trail


The Strandloper Trail runs from the Kei River Mouth to Gonubie - almot 60 kms of gorgeous beaches, rivers, cliff tops and coastal forests. It’s not called Strandloper (beach walker) for nothing. Most of the hike travails East Londons beach...

More info and photographs: Strandloper Hiking Trail

Did you know?

The 10 hectare Kwelera National Botanical Garden will soon exist within the reserve.

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